Belfast Telegraph

In-form Shaqiri going nowhere in January, says Stoke boss Hughes

Stoke boss Mark Hughes is confident Xherdan Shaqiri will not be looking to leave the club any time soon and has stressed any January attempts to lure the player away will be rejected.

The in-form Shaqiri, whose current Stoke deal runs to summer 2020, has scored three goals and provided five assists in the Premier League so far this season.

Asked ahead of Wednesday's home clash with Liverpool if it would be difficult to keep the 26-year-old Switzerland forward in the January transfer window, Hughes said: "No, I don't think so.

"I don't think there's any enthusiasm for any situation to develop in terms of his future.

"He's contracted here, he's doing very well, and if anyone shows an interest in him or any other players, they will be quickly rebuked.

"If there are any enquiries, certainly for Shaq, in January, they won't be given much encouragement."

Hughes emphasised that the situation regarding the likes of Shaqiri and Stoke's England goalkeeper Jack Butland is not similar to that of Marko Arnautovic, who left for West Ham in July in a deal that will net the Potters up to £25million.

Hughes said: "I think the key is that they recognise what they have got here. They are playing in a good team with good players.

"Good players get attention from the whole of Europe and we understand that.

"But I think it is dependent on the player to a certain extent and maybe the people that surround the players.

"When we allowed Marko to leave, when we felt we got the right price, we understood his intention. It was quite clear to everybody that he wanted to leave.

"I don't get any sense of that from Jack or Shaq at the moment, don't encourage it and don't expect it.

"They'll get attention, without a shadow of a doubt, because they are good players, but it is a different situation to (that) with Marko.

"I don't sense there's any real desire (from Shaqiri) to leave us at this moment in time because he is enjoying his football and playing well. So why would you go?"

Shaqiri netted the opener in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Crystal Palace, a match for which Saido Berahino - the January signing who is enduring a goal drought that goes back to February 2016 - was left out out of Stoke's squad.

Hughes stressed there was "no issue" and that Berahino was in his thoughts for Wednesday as he explained the striker's omission.

He said: "Mame Diouf turned up on Friday with his elbow really swollen, we strapped him up, and I just didn't know how long he would last in the game, so I needed cover on the bench (Thomas Edwards). As a consequence I went (in terms of forwards on the bench) with Jese (Rodriguez) and Peter Crouch (but not Berahino).

"On this occasion Saido missed out, but he is in my thoughts for Wednesday. There's no issue with it - it is just circumstance."

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